I felt the posttraumatic shock when I learned that the company I worked for was dissolving. Having experienced the loss of my job three years before, the fear of what might come began to set in. What was I going to do for employment? How would I be able to pay rent and provide for my wife and two daughters? Although God had abundantly provided for us during the last shattering trial, I found myself at a familiar crossroads: to either believe what was true about God or not.
- When have you been in a situation that looked like it might lead to another devastating experience? What was your first response toward God? Why?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 9:8-17 (ESV)
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- How many times did God use the phrase “every living creature” and “all flesh” as he declared his covenant with Noah and his family? What did this repetition confirm to Noah?
- Looking at verses 9, 12, and 16, what words could describe the type of covenant God declared? Is there a condition that Noah and his family had to meet to keep the covenant? Did the covenant exclude anyone or anything? When did God say it would end?
- Under what condition did God say he would remember his covenant (vss. 14-15a)? The setting down of the bow by a warrior in ancient times was a symbol to end hostility. What kind of sign did God provide Noah by setting down his bow?
- Why did God provide a sign to all people, for all time, that he would not destroy his creation again by a universal flood?
- What circumstances invite you to see God as a destroyer? What difference would it make for you to know God as “The Restorer” rather than “The Destroyer” in those circumstances?
RESPOND TO GOD
You can imagine Noah’s immediate thoughts whenever he saw rain again, but God gave him nothing to fear. Not only did he initiate an unconditional, universal, and everlasting covenant with humanity and all his creation to preserve life, he guaranteed it with a sign of peace. And in Christ, the ultimate sign of peace, God guarantees his commitment to restore us and not destroy us. With this assurance, not only can we “let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts” (Colossians 3:15), but we can confidently and securely bring this peace to all people, everywhere. As Chris Wright says “The rainbow promise spans whatever horizon we can ever see.”
- Thank God for providing a guarantee, in Christ, of his commitment to restore life over destroying it.
- Ask him to show you who you can bring his ultimate peace sign to, so that they may know him and the Son whom he sent.